Soon, the city of Half Moon Bay will most likely adopt an ordinance banning new gas appliances over time and phasing out natural gas for both homes and businesses unless there's a large public outcry against this.

This ordinance isn't like most of the poorly thought out, fiscally irresponsible, wasteful projects that use taxpayer money, like the $5 million city parking lot, the $4 million Main Street traffic light, the $15 million-plus repair of the Main Strreet bridge, the $4 million Carter Park or the $1 million empty building on Kelly Avenue, etc. No. This is going to dig really deep into your pocket, costing everyone tens of thousands of dollars with no economic benefit to you.

If you own a home, kiss goodbye your stove, water heater, furnace, dryer, jacuzzi, outdoor fire pit and barbecue. I would estimate the cost for this conversion to be anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000, probably more for larger homes. To do this will require major rewiring of your home and likely increasing the size of your electric panel to accommodate the additional load.

For businesses, the cost will be more and very disruptive to their operations, possibly causing reduced revenue or closure and layoffs while conversion is going on. For hotels, nurseries or restaurants, the cost could easily run into the six figures. I shudder to think what the cost will be for our largest employers like the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, and Rocket Farms!

Renters, including those in affordable housing complexes, won't be immune to this either as their landlords are going to jack up rents to try and recoup some of these big costs. Or maybe landlords will sell their properties thereby reducing rental supply.

PG&E has continual power outages, so being more reliant on 100 percent electrical homes makes no sense. This summer alone I personally had four power outages — two in one week. At least with gas you can cook, stay warm and take hot showers.

To me, this is a bad economic idea. Even if you get a reduction in your PG&E bill from all-electric, which I doubt, you won't live long enough to recoup the huge cost of this conversion. The payback will take decades.

There is a silver lining. It’s a great time to be an electrician. And Half Moon Bay will make a fortune from the thousands of conversion permits they will charge us.

Please call or write to City Hall and tell them this is a bonehead idea. Better yet, show up in force at the City Council meeting on Nov. 16. Otherwise enjoy all the money you'll spend to take cold showers in the dark.

Steve Hyman is a Realtor and Half Moon Bay resident.

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(13) comments

Another Concerned Citizen

A ballot initiative would only solve one of the many problems our woke city co council has rammed down our throats. When small town politicians start telling you what you can do in your own home it is time for a broader and more permanent solution. I would both volunteer for and contribute to a recall of all of them.

uffish thought

If this City Council passes such a draconian ordinance, the only logical response is to undo the harm through a resident-sponsored ballot item.

I'll look forward to volunteering.

Another Concerned Citizen

Actually, I HAVE read the proposed ordinance and it DOES require replacing all your gas appliances, just not for a few years. And anyone with half a brain will buy new gas appliances now and keep their cheap, efficient, reliable gas appliances as long as possible. The best case scenario is that a future and less woke city council will, by the time they cut off the city's gas lines as they expressly say they intend to do, listen to the screams of hundreds of constituents who shortly before that happens simply won't have tens of thousands of dollars to change the way they live for no local or global benefit--other than giving the long gone 2021 city council virtue signalling rights. And if you want to know just how cynical and hypocritical this is, read the article from the Times of San Diego entitled "Wildfires and Drought Force California to Rely on Natural Gas for Winter Electricity." (I tried to post the link but the Review's algorithm won't let me because they say it appears to be spam).

Steve Hyman

This is government over reach taken to an extreme in that they are now telling us how to live in the privacy of our homes and what we must buy for some undefined unmeasurable benefit to the City of HMB

So whether this is done next month, next year or in 10 years, its going to cost a fortune, especially rewiring your home when you start replacing things like your furnace.

And the people forcing this on us are the ones who have incompetently managed our city wasting millions of dollars on questionable projects. Why should we believe them. Their track record is not impressive.

Guess its like taking financial advice from someone who's bankrupt.

Why doesn't the City just focus on the core aspects of government like fix the traffic, keep us safe, clean the beaches and get the school grades up.

And please leave us alone as we sure can manage our finances a lot better than you do

dce

Have any of you who have written here actually read the proposed ordinance?? Because the simple fact is no one is going to be required to replace anything- unless and until the gas-powered appliance has failed.

The levels of misinformation in this opinion piece and the subsequent comments are breathtaking to behold and show how our current state of hysteria regarding masks and vaccinations is not an isolated occurrence.

We gotta do better than this people.

Mr. Hyman- it's time to read the actual ordinance and get back to us with the corrections in your immensely inaccurate piece above!

ggweather

Please simmer down everyone. The writer of the Op-Ed obviously did not read the proposal. The Draft Proposal does NOT make anyone change out existing gas appliances. It will apply to new construction and if you want to replace a gas applaince. See https://www.half-moon-bay.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/3745/DRAFT-Building-Electrification-Ordinance-042221?bidId=

rorysowner

But when the replacement is required, the added cost of installing electrical and increasing panel size is not trivial, plus permits. It is avoidable cost. Also consider the cost of building gas gathering plants that would be retired before end of life on the utility side. This is wasted "energy" as well.

Another Concerned Citizen

We recently upgraded and replaced our gas appliances for the specific purpose of getting in ahead of the ordinance, because if we sell our home of 25 years within the next 10 years (we will as we will retire and downsize during that time frame) it will greatly increase the resale value of our house. And I researched online what the cost of replacing our gas furnace, water heater, stove top and clothes dryer with electric would be--it's a great deal more than Steve's estimate, not even including the higher monthly cost of electric versus natural gas, and not even including the extreme inconvenience of not having heat, showers or hot food during our regular electric outages. I urge the writer who thinks the cost argument is unsupported to do the research themselves. Also, Steve is again partially right. Yes, our "leaders" should shoulder the enormous cost of their woke climate dream in their own homes themselves--but they should also pay the complete cost of each and every homeowner doing the same. And not from our taxes--taking our money then giving us our own money back after the local government takes its cut is simply not acceptable. If they really want to force this down our throats, it is a perfect example of something that should only be done after a city-wide vote of the people they purport to serve.

Steve Hyman

As the owner of the Century 21 office here for 30 years, I’ve seen many peoples feelings towards electric appliances. Many may not remember but it wasn’t until 1988-1990 that PG&E brought natural gas to most parts of Moss Beach and Montara more populated areas. Most swapped electric, heating and propane for underground cheaper natural gas. Women hate how they look, cook, heat and dry clothes and their husbands hate the big ugly PG&E bills that they make.

Additionally people dont want to spend a fortune putting up with tearing their homes apart installing larger expensive appliances. Especially when there’s plenty of life left

But the worst part will be the gift that keeps giving from PG& E in the form of a huge bill. And it’s not reliable from a company that’s filed bankruptcy.

Why would anyone want to spend a fortune to pay more money every month when there’s no reason.

I’ve said this before. If our electric officials and city manager think this is such a great idea then why don’t they each commit now to retrofitting THEIR homes on their nickel ( not some government grant we can’t get) and do a case study. Tell us what it costs to do and monthly operating costs.

Then report back to us and we can all decide what a great idea this is.

coastalviews

Hm, I think I agree with the thesis, but this letter is very poorly written. I could not glean any of the pros and cons of the real issue. Is using gas really harmful to HMB? The list of other wasteful projects included no real information about those projects. I think the examples of other projects are being used just to incite some few people who understand what the writer intended. I do not. Normally one writes a letter with a thesis, explanation and conclusion. This letter has a thesis. Good start. Now go back and write something that is more informative. I will probably support keeping gas. I like to cook with it. I don't use that much, anyway. But I have no reason why this writer is against the change from gas to electric stoves or other appliances. Well, there is the made up element of costs. That argument is wholly unsupported in this letter. So, there is no way to evaluate if the author is correct. Sorry, we need more information, not hyperbole, made up examples and exaggerations.

Another Concerned Citizen

Both Steve and the above comment are right about everything, with one exception: it will cost each HMB homeowner far more than the $25,000-$40,000 that Steve estimates. (I looked up the cost of such appliances online--try it). Since obeying our woke city council's orders will not change either the sea level or the temperature at Pillar Point Harbor or the world in general even a tiny bit, it is hard to imagine any justification for placing such a huge burden on their constituents. Given the lack of any measurable impact on the climate, cost is the ONLY consideration--and the only one the city council will not consider as a reason not to comply. What will it take for our city government to remember that they owe a fiduciary duty to the citizens of HMB alone, and none whatsoever to Greta Thunberg, Gavin Newsome or any other climate activist anywhere else?

Perspective

While it would be expected that a Real Estate guy would oppose HMB electrification, it sure does appear that there a lack of evidence of benefit in CO2 reduction and/or lifecycle cost. Even the study underpinning this effort says Bay Area homes aren't the right targets. HMB voters will have to decide whether their City Council should be imposing their vision of social justice on residents without a full vote of the residents. As the author pointed out, this continues a pattern of financially dubious management, not to mention a quasi- tax increase.

More analysis on the HMB proposal - both for and against - is here:

https://www.coastsidebuzz.com/26595-2/

rorysowner

Thank you for your letter to the HMB Review re:electrification. A voice of reason!!!!

By way of background (e.g., cred) I’m a mechanical engineer - professional engineer, registered in CA. I studied power systems at Cal Poly. I also have an MBA. I worked in the nuclear and CA utility sector for some time; more recently I am in engineering design and project management for research labs in Pharma.

I designed and built my house here in HMB in 2011 on a previously undeveloped lot at 1st and Poplar. I specifically put in radiant heat, passive solar (window placement) and as many gas appliances as I could for the reasons you mentioned….plan B during electrical outages, more efficient and less expensive source of energy. I spent lots on these appliances and the on-demand water heater powered by gas as well as the gas line. I can’t imagine the cost and interruption to replace everything. Since I’m 62, it will probably not be my problem, but it will be a huge adverse impact on the value of my home for my trust/children.

I’m honestly a bit flabbergasted that the City is even considering this. Gas is clean, inexpensive and until someone does a full life cycle analysis to prove to me that it is worth the trade off considering ALL the hidden costs you so elegantly articulate, I am 1000% against this initiative.

Do people think new appliances grow on trees? It costs lots of energy to make the new stove/dryer/water heater that would have to be installed. It is a load on the environment to generate the replacement electricity. I do hope we get more sustainable solar and wind power but this initiative is a stupid solution. Better they put the $ into pipeline safety and under grounding all the electric lines.

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